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Artist Statement 

Botanicals have long served as essential symbols and archetypes in the human imagination. Using encaustic, oil paint, collage and drawing, I merge representation with metaphor to create botanical abstractions. Botany, conservation, and the human urge to imbue plants with symbolic and psychological significance, inform my work.

Worldwide, many plants are threatened by human-caused climate change and degradation; the human psyche is also threatened when it is disconnected from the natural world. The concept of Biophilia— the innate human love of nature – as described by the American biologist Edward O. Wilson and others, motivates my art and imagery.  I see plants as essential to the human soul and imagination, as well as being essential to the health of our planet.

In my compositions, I use color interpretively, combining the endlessly complex and varied forms of seeds, flowers, pods, and pollen with abstract elements. Sometimes I include hand-drawn images of threatened species in my paintings, and sometimes I embed old dictionary pages to reference science and history. I include a variety of mixed media under and over the encaustic wax layers, to create visual depth. Encaustic medium is made from beeswax derived from plant pollen, a material that depends upon the availability of pollinator plants. 

For me, art making is an alchemical process. Rather than simple, realistic depictions of plants, I’m interested in an intriguing middle ground, where elements and references become abstract, whisper suggestions, and transition into a mysterious realm: nuanced, poetic and unknown. 


Artist Bio

Alison grew up camping and exploring the Rocky Mountains of Alberta and British Columbia, in Canada. Her father, a geologist with his pickaxe, taught her about geology, evolution, and hunting for fossils. Her mother, an avid gardener, taught her about plants and how to pay attention to the natural world. Science and Nature became her teachers. At seventeen, Alison began traveling around the world on yearlong extended trips through Asia and Central/South America. This was before the Internet or cell phones, and it was as if she had walked through a curtain into the unknown world, cut-off, self sufficient, an explorer.
Alison lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In addition to painting in her studio at the Harwood Art Center, she is an art teacher at Albuquerque Academy. For the past sixteen years she has taught all levels of drawing and painting, including AP Drawing. She particularly loves taking students on wilderness art-making trips.
Alison has a BFA in painting from the University of Calgary, in Canada, and a master’s degree in Art Therapy from the University of New Mexico. Her background in outdoor education and art therapy have given her a deep appreciation for the transformative and healing power of both nature and art. Her work has been in juried shows at 516 Arts Downtown, Albuquerque, and The Albuquerque Museum of Art and History.

Exhibitions

 

2018  Solo Show, Albuquerque Academy, NM 
          Abstract Catalyst 5, Verum Ultimum Art Gallery, Portland, OR
          Global Warming is Real, Museum of Encaustic Art, Santa Fe, NM
          Surface: Emerging Artists of New Mexico, Harwood Art Center, Albuquerque, NM
          Visual Arts Faculty Show, Albuquerque Academy, NM
          Collected, Encompass Gallery Exhibition, Harwood Art Center, Albuquerque, NM
2017  11th Annual 12x12 Exhibition and Fundraiser, Harwood Art Center, Albuquerque NM

          Small Works Exhibition, New Mexico Art League, Albuquerque, NM
2016  Visual Arts Faculty Show, Albuquerque Academy, NM

          Sole/Soul: Mixed Media Work, Dr. Zachary Haas Podiatry Office, Albuquerque, NM
2015  Visual Arts Faculty Show, Albuquerque Academy, NM
2013  Collect 10, Center For Contemporary Arts, Santa Fe, NM
          Visual Arts Faculty Show, Albuquerque Academy, NM
2012  New Mexico Showcase, 516 ARTS Downtown, Albuquerque, NM

2011  Visual Arts Faculty Show, Albuquerque Academy, NM
2010  Albuquerque NOW - Fall, Albuquerque Museum of Art and History, NM
2009  Visual Arts Faculty Show, Albuquerque Academy, NM
2007  Visual Arts Faculty Show, Albuquerque Academy, NM
2006  Visual Arts Faculty Show, Albuquerque Academy, NM
2005  12X12 Exhibition and Fundraiser, Harwood Art Center, Albuquerque, NM
          Visual Arts Faculty Show, Albuquerque Academy, NM
2003  Visual Arts Faculty Show, Albuquerque Academy, NM
2000  NM Art Therapy Association Show, UNM Art Education Gallery, Albuquerque, NM
1999  NM Art Therapy Association Show, Fisher Gallery, Albuquerque, NM
1997  Openings to the Underworld, Harwood Art Center, Albuquerque, NM
1996  Art Therapy Graduating Show, UNM Art Education Gallery, Albuquerque, NM
1995  Anatomy of Solitude, China Phoenix Gallery, Albuquerque, NM
1988  Women’s Shelter, Environmental Design Gallery, University of Calgary, AB, Canada
          Recent Art Graduates, Virginia Christopher Gallery, Calgary, AB, Canada
          BFA Art Graduates, Gulf Canada Gallery, Calgary, AB, Canada
          BFA Graduating Exhibition, Nickle Arts Museum, Calgary, AB, Canada
          Women’s Show, Little Gallery, University of Calgary, AB, Canada
          Survey Alberta ’88, Alberta College of Art, Calgary, AB, Canada

 

Member:
Encaustic Art Institute, Santa Fe, New Mexico